JOHNSTOWN - A more than 500-unit housing project off Elmwood Avenue Extension that mostly would be made up of residences for senior citizens is in its early stages of development.
Fulton County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty said Mick Mullins, an Albany real estate developer who grew up in Gloversville, is interested in building the development on 120 acres he owns off the town road.
If the project is fully completed, Geraghty said, it would contain well over 500 units and would be made up of apartments, townhouses and condominiums.
Supervisor Roy Palmateer said Mullins is planning to do the project in phases. He said he would build 14 to 15 senior housing units that would house two to three families each as part of the project's first phase and would build many more units during subsequent phases.
In an e-mail to The Leader-Herald, Mullins said the homes primarily would be used to house members of the area's senior community, but it would not exclusively be limited to such housing.
"I am simply looking to duplicate the availability of choices that are already proven in the Capital District and beyond but may not be readily available in this area," Mullins said.
Mullins came to a town Planning Board meeting last month to ask for advice on the matter. Town Board member Jack Wilson said Mullins has been pursuing the project for more than a year and surveyors have done preliminary work at the site.
"It would be good for our area," he said. "There'll be some jobs and some much needed senior housing."
Palmateer said Mullins is pursuing a grant to help him pay for the project, though he said he was unsure whether it was a federal or state grant. Mullins declined to elaborate on project specifics.
The site already is connected to a public water line but does not have municipal sewer access. Mullins said he hoped he could get sewer services extended to his property at some point, saying the area could "benefit substantially" from expanding use to such public utilities.
"I think that's probably the biggest hurdle that he's going to have to initially resolve," Geraghty said of gaining access to the municipal sewer system.
Officials around the community have said for some time they would like more senior housing in Fulton County.
The Sacandaga Task Force for Senior Living has expressed interest in receiving a grant to help build senior housing apartments in Northville to fill what task force members have said is a vital need in the area. And a report called the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project, released in June, concluded in part the park's population will decline in coming years, due to the aging populace.
Though this particular project would not be within the boundaries of the Adirondack Park, Mullins said Fulton County lacks senior housing.
"I wanted to develop this type of project in my hometown area," he said. "I know that the need is there, in terms of both the needs of those that would reside there, as well as [in terms of] the economic development."
Geraghty said he would like to see the project become a success story.
"That's the size of a small village, if you really think about that," Geraghty said. "It's probably a grandiose plan, and I hope he's able to do it."
Mullins is operating the project as Elmwood Progressive LLC.
Zach Subar covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org